When it comes to chronic disease, there is usually no one hard and fast route to recovery. As hard as that might be for some patients to accept, it’s an unfortunate truth. Many long-term diseases take years to truly recover from, and many have no positive prognosis at all. Chronic Lyme disease falls somewhere in the middle; it can take a long time to recover from, and treatment is a long, drawn-out process that is often hampered by medical professionals not knowing enough about the topic to ably assist their patients. Most Lyme disease patients are subsequently left in a kind of medical limbo, where their condition is either not recognised, or misdiagnosed as something else. Faced with that, anything that can provide relief for patients is usually extremely welcomed. One of those things can be black cumin.
You may have never heard of black cumin before; so what exactly is it, and how can it help in the fight against chronic disease? Another name for black cumin is black sesame, black caraway, onion seed or Roman coriander. It is procured from Nigella sativa, a native southwest Asian plant. It has a long history of use in the arena of traditional medicine, and has recently come to the fore as a superfood, due to a number of health benefits. These benefits can positively affect patients who have a variety of diseases, including cancer, cardiac issues, diabetes and more. But how exactly can it help chronic Lyme disease patients, and is it worth adding into your nutrition plan if you’re a Lyme sufferer?
In short: yes, it is. Numerous peer-reviewed studies (over 650, to be exact) have been conducted on the potential benefits of black cumin, and at least 20 separate pharmacological actions have been identified. These actions include anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, gastro-protective, antioxidant and anti-mycobacterial. A number of these actions should be of interest to Lyme sufferers, particularly the anti-inflammatory properties. Black cumin is sometimes called ‘the miracle herb’; indeed, its name in old Latin is ‘panacea’, which literally translates as ‘cure all’.
Much of the struggle of chronic Lyme disease is the inflammation. Understanding the differences between symptoms of inflammation and symptoms of infection is key to treating the disorder effectively. Antibiotics will not clear up symptoms of inflammation, as these are caused by the body essentially attacking itself. Even if there is only a very little trace of the bacteria left in the system, the immune system can still react catastrophically. This is why treating Lyme with a mixture of antibiotic therapy and a nutritional-based attack on the inflammation response is critical. There is every chance that adding black cumin to your diet will decrease the severity of this prominent and debilitating chronic Lyme symptom.
But the benefits of black cumin don’t stop there. An unknowable and scary side to chronic Lyme are the neurological complications it presents. These are not always quantifiable, and differ from patient to patient. In addition, many patients are scared to admit the full extent of neurological symptoms to their doctor, as it can lend evidence to accusations of delusion. Writing off chronic Lyme as the creation of an obsessed, hypochondriac mind is a significant problem in many medical circles. However, the neurological effects of Lyme disease, which include memory loss, visual disturbances, cognitive issues and facial nerve palsy, are all too real for many patients across the world.
A recent study found that black cumin can help protect the nervous system from damage against neurological toxins. The results of this experiment showed that Nigella sativa has many neurological benefits, with properties including antidepressant, anxiolytic, anti-ischemic, analgesic, antipsychotic and memory enhancement. All of this is potentially good news for Lyme sufferers, as we are still coming to terms with many of the crippling neurological side effects of Lyme disease. On top of this, there is one further benefit to black cumin that could potentially help another, less-talked about aspect of Lyme. When procured as oil, black cumin can have multiple benefits for the skin, tackling symptoms of eczema, acne and psoriasis.
Skin issues surrounding Lyme are another less-discussed subject, but recent research has linked the bizarre skin disease Morgellons with the Lyme causative agent, borrelia burgdorferi. As part of their range of products dedicated to supporting the treatment of chronic diseases such as Lyme, Make Well has a specialised skin product called MRG derm. One of the ingredients of MRG derm is black cumin, which comes with a proven track record of supporting skin condition treatment. Of course, it’s important to remember that although it might be nicknamed ‘the miracle herb’, black cumin is not a cure on its own. Lyme is a difficult disease to treat, and requires a number of different tactics to combat effectively. Black cumin can, however, form an important part of the overall approach, and is worth checking out.